Madeline Schuster, 2017 (whale named Hooper):

BIOL 335 - Marine Mammals

About the Course

Huntsman Marine Center, New Brunswick
July 14-27, 2024

BIOL 335 is an intensive two-week field course taught at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre (HMSC) in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, from July 14-27, 2024. This seaside town is on the Bay of Fundy which has the highest tides in the world and is a biodiversity hotspot including marine mammal species such as harbour and grey seals, and the whalewatcher's favorite, the humpback whale. The course combines lectures, laboratory exercises, field trips, and individual and group projects. Students will learn about the biology and ecology of marine mammals with special emphasis on the seals and whales of the Bay of Fundy, and will visit the heart of the bay during an all-day field trip to Grand Manan Island. Students will become familiar with current efforts in marine mammal conservation, and evaluate scientific data and hypotheses within the field of marine mammal science. Students will contribute to a long-term dataset of marine mammal surveys on board Huntsman's vessel the Fundy Spray, and develop their learning into a current research summary, two presentations, and a final exam.

Registration, Fees & Application Form:

Space is limited to 18 students. Students from outside McGill are welcome if space is available. The course fee for 2024 is $1,858.12 and covers room and board at Huntsman as well as all course related activities. It does not cover tuition, transportation to Huntsman or insurance.

  • Interested individuals should fill out the application form. Students are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, assuming they have the necessary background.
  • Once you receive an email from Susan Gabe assuring you there is space in the course, you will be asked to pay the $300 deposit into your student account.
  • Once the deposit is done, email Student Accounts (student.accounts [at] and let them know that the money is earmarked for BIOL 335, using “Deposit Biology BIOL 335” in the subject line.
  • Include your McGill ID number in the email and copy Susan Gabe (susan.gabe [at] who will approve your course registration.
  • The deposit secures your place in the course. The deposit is refundable only until June 1. The remainder of the fee must be paid by August 1.

What to expect

Registration & Timing:

You will find your key package and registration kit in the front foyer of Anderson House, after lunchtime, on Sunday, July 14th. Anderson House is the big brick building on Huntsman Upper Campus - see campus map. The course begins with a short introduction at 5:00 pm (Anderson House). This will be followed by supper and the first lecture at 7:00 pm. The course ends at 11:00 am, after the exam, on the morning of Saturday July 27th. Check out time is 12:00 pm. No lunch is provided on the last day.

Accommodations & Meals:

The course is considered a total immersion experience and participants stay in residence on the Huntsman Upper Campus. Everyone will receive a set of linens which they are responsible for washing. Participants will share rooms, usually two per room. There is wireless internet throughout the campus.

Meals are served in the dining hall at Anderson House. Cold breakfast food will be available to make on your own until 9:00 am, daily.

Practical things to bring:

The layered look is fashionable here on the coast as the weather can be cool and damp, even in the summer.
Along with your personal items you will need to bring....


  • outdoor clothing
  • good quality rainwear
  • rubber boots
  • waterproof field note book and pencil
  • day pack or backpack (waterproof preferable)
  • laptop
  • water bottle (as plastic bottle free campus)

Nice to have 

  • binoculars
  • camera


"Loved the course. Learned a lot and made life-long memories"

"One of the highlights of my undergrad university career! I also took other field courses too and Biology of Marine Mammals was my favourite, because of the balance and diversity of activities (labs, outdoors field days, hands-on projects, presentations, free time to explore the region). The teachers were really great, knowledgeable and approachable too."

"Great course! Gave me a lot of practical knowledge that I have been able to carry with me in other areas"

"I LOVED THIS COURSE. I use the information in my personal life. I show off my knowledge to my friends and family."

"I enjoyed the course very much, it's probably my favourite that I've taken at McGill. I'm happy to hear that it's still going to be running."

"I found that the course was very informative. It was a great experience and it made me appreciate the wildlife even more."

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